Looking For Strength

In a few weeks time a new baby is joining our extended family.

This is the baby that belongs to the parents hurt us deeply with their pregnancy announcement which amongst other things was filled with their own self-centered way that offered us absolutely no compassion.  We trusted them deeply, they are the only ones who have known about each pregnancy and loss as they happened.  In fact, we trusted them so deeply that in our wills they were our child(ren)’s intended legal guardians.  We are not very trusting by nature, and so to be hurt by them has left a very deep scar.  A scar that is no-where near healed.  In fact, with the exception of sending a baby gift for her shower, we’ve barely spoken to them since they announced their pregnancy.

If I’m honest about it, I don’t even think they know we are hurt.  They haven’t seemed to notice our lack of communication.  Or at least they haven’t asked.  And we’ve made a decision not to tell, not now.  Maybe one day, but for now we’ve decided that our hurt doesn’t need to cloud their happy experience with their first child.

So, the baby is due anytime now.  We don’t actually know the due date.  We never asked.  They never told us.  But we are pretty sure it’s mid-August.

And now, I am trying very hard to prepare myself for a wave of emotions.

I know it’s going to be hard.  And so I’m looking to dig deep into my emotional reserves to help get me through it.

I anticipate that I will feel:

  • Anger – that it is not us.  And that it never will be.
  • Hurt – that they have been so incredibly insensitive and hurtful to us.
  • Frustration – that we will never have this experience.
  • Lonely – because our hearts ache for a child, and yet we still do not have one.
  • Envy –  for how easy it was for them to have this child.
  • Guilt – for having all these feelings and not just being happy for the birth of another child into our family.
  • Love – for a little child that is completely innocent of the issues between us and the parents, and also innocent of our struggles and our losses.

Upon hearing that the baby is born I want to be overcome with happiness for them, but instead I expect to have sad tears rolling down my cheeks.  Tears for the loss of two people we held very close to us, tears for what we don’t have and tears for what we will never experience.  Realistically, I know that upon hearing the news from Mr. MPB, I can essentially guarantee that I will respond with some sort of smart-ass sarcastic comment to Mr. MPB (not them), as I deal with hurt through horrible humor, as if somehow it will mask the pain.

I hate knowing that I am going to feel mainly negative on this child’s birthday.  Yet, I realize I also need to be honest with myself and allow myself to feel whatever emotions come to me.

That said, I do hope with time, my negative emotions will dissipate, just as they have for our other nephew.

Does anyone have any advice on how to get through this type of a birth announcement?  Any ideas for how to cope?

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32 Comments on “Looking For Strength

  1. It’s understandable that you would feel this way, as I’m sure many of us would. I never understand why people who know the struggles that we go through, can be so selfish and uncaring when telling us about these things? While I was reading, I was thinking about the situation with your nephew, so I’m glad you brought that up. I think that over time, the same will happen…you’ll get to know the baby and grow to love them for themselves. It’s okay to be upset with the parents, but the baby had nothing to do with how they acted. So try to open your hearts to the baby, even if you feel shut off from the parents. ❤

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  2. There was one in 2012 that threw me so much. It was hubs’ best mate and his estranged wife and it was an ‘oops’ baby that forced them back together. I swear the impending birth of that little girl nigh on killed me emotionally. I sank into a huge depression. When she actually arrived it was so much easier. I felt the weight lift and slowly I came out of the fog, after all I love kids so much, putting a name and a face to the ‘announcement’ that wounded me so badly took a lot of it away.
    I’ve no real advice for dealing with the impending birth, that’s always the hardest bit (after the gut punching announcement that is!) apart from try and just keep your head down, and distract distract distract! I think it will hurt less once the baby is here.
    Sending you hugs and light xxxx

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  3. I am sorry that you have to experience these hurts and this sadness. I wish so badly that it was you and Mr. MPB who were bringing the first grandbaby into your family circle. I wish they had handled you and Mr. MPB’s hearts more delicately, and been more thoughtful with things.

    You are so good at digging deep and getting in touch with your emotions. I always stand in awe of that – your ability to self reflect and be honest with yourself and others is admirable.

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  4. I’m so sorry you are going through this. As you can probably tell from the kinds of things I have been posting lately I have not been dealing very well with the news of a new niece or nephew coming to our family. I think these emotions are completely normal.
    I am someone who does always try to see things from the other side, I am not yet able to do this with my sis in law and brother, but I had a similar situation with a friend a couple of years ago.
    In my circumstance it turned out she had very good reasons for not telling anyone (not even her immediate family except her hubby) that she was pregnant. I think sometimes what is going on in someones life whether it be overwhelming happiness or fear or something else can veil their perceptions of things and others around them. Is it possible this could have happened with your friends?
    I also think sometimes people just don’t know how to break the news to people in our positions because they feel kinda guilty to be pregnant and be happy about it – to be honest this is what I think happened with my brother and his GF – I think this is why they let my parents tell me.
    Like I said I think your feelings, whatever they are at the time will be very natural. I think the most important thing is to not ignore them, but feel them and acknowledge them. We are all here for you.

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  5. I don’t really know as I don’t think I really deal with things like this other than by avoidance. I think of it as self preservation – I don’t want to have my face rubbed in it. I’ve avoided all pregnant people apart from my SIL. And she/they were very sensitive about it as they knew about the miscarriage so we didn’t really discuss the pregnancy at all, even though she’s very near to giving birth.

    I’m kind of an “ask for forgiveness not permission” person so I’ve just gone ahead and avoided people. I figure that proper friends will understand when they find out what happened (though I have to remember to tell them if I expect understanding; they’re not mind readers) and those who don’t show understanding aren’t really worth trying to hang onto!

    I really feel for you as I’ve been doing the pregnant bump avoidance thing. It is a tough thing to deal with. I’m not sure how we get through it but we do… We all do.

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  6. And as everyone says, it’s a completely natural reaction. That’s one of the things I’ve learned from blogging. I really thought I was the only person who was having this kind of irrational reaction to a baby. It seemed absolutely nuts to me. I feel sort of better knowing that it is a common reaction and I’m not some random weirdo. Like you said, your feelings towards your nephew changed over time and these will too. Please don’t feel bad about yourself for having these feelings… You are a good person, so thoughtful and considerate that anyone should be happy to have you in their life. I know you will be able to deal with this as you have dealt with so many of the difficult things. Sending you hugs xx

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  7. I think you just have to FEEL the feelings.

    I remember when I was fresh from my loss — less than one month out and I was at a family gathering with a hugely pregnant friend of the family, and the other friend of the family had a one month old. I lost it privately in the bathroom. Luckily I had one leftover half dose of Xanax and then had a chocolate martini — the best I’ve ever had.

    My sister-in-law with her two little kids (ages one and three) at the time consoled me very well. She didn’t let me stuff my feelings.

    Put yourself around understanding people — which you are by being here — but more importantly find those REAL life people. Call a friend. See a friend. You seem well-connected and I can imagine there’s some IRL who will listen to you.

    And … when you get over this hump, which you will, enjoy your NO mommy time. Take advantage, some more of this me time because once it’s gone it’s gone for at least 18 years! Or more in some cases!

    You’re a normal woman having all these feelings. Remind yourself it’s OK and cry, pout and write your heart out. You’re not the only one to feel like this … and you won’t be the last!

    I recall EVERY couple who got married after me, except one, got pregnant and had a healthy baby EVERY SINGLE ONE. Yes, I got pregnant, but the baby had chromosomal problems. Every the very, very, very, very obese woman with diabetes who liked to chug beer and had a demanding load demeanor got pregnant and pushed out a healthy flesh sack … but not me. My co-worker pushed out child number two and became my boss’ golden girl … but not me. My dear friend M after also having a chromosomally abnormal pregnancy had a healthy little boy and now she struggles to have child number two. She comes from families of two — she had a sister, her husband had one brother, her brother-in-law has two children and her sister has two kids. She lives in the world of wanting “the second one”.

    It’s hard to live in places where we want something, we don’t seem to be having it and we watch others around us have what we want. And so many of them have what we what without effort, without sweat, without work, without envy, without trying, without thinking about it.

    I wish I could say something useful or helpful … really I do. I can only recommend to stay open and express your feelings to those in your life who care. ❤

    Now go have a chocolate martini … even it's only 10 a.m.! 😉

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  8. This might be one of the hardest parts of all this. The conflicted and horrible emotions that comes with other’s pregnancy and announcements. I have learned a few things. One– it is totally ok to protect yourself. I survived some by avoiding and ignoring and don’t regret it. Two- you will always over glamorize other people’s situations. For all you know they are struggling in other areas ( marriage, overall happiness etc). Just don’t forget that comparisons don’t really work and are usually innacurate. I am guessing it would be hard to find a better marriage than you and your husband have. That is something that is so rare. Way more rare than being able to procreate. My sister and I always reminded each other that there are thankfully many options to start a family but pure luck in finding our men. Finally- I agree with others that once the birth happens it seems easier to handle. Thinking of you.

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  9. I’m so sorry. This is so difficult. I wish they hadn’t been insensitive with their pregnancy announcement, and that they’d reached out to you more during the pregnancy, to keep in touch and check in on how you were doing — that’s really the only reason I managed to stay friends with my close friends who were pregnant at the same time as me after our daughter died. They were just too awesome and supportive for me to do anything else, and I’m sorry that your brother- and sister-in-law weren’t kind and conscientious enough to do that for you.

    I’m also glad you brought up your nephew, and I hope you’ll come to feel similarly about this baby with time. I think I mentioned earlier that this weekend I was worried because I was finally going to meet that little girl who was born just a few days after my daughter’s due date… well, I did, and she was lovely and adorable, and I held her and bounced her and didn’t even really feel like crying. I decided that I was much more upset by the *idea* of this baby than about her as an actual person, and once she was in front of me, cooing and drooling and grinning, I was able to see her for herself. I hope it winds up being the same for you with this baby — even if the idea of this baby is incredibly painful for you, hopefully when you see him/her in person, the reality of this innocent little creature will be easier to deal with than the concept.

    That’s all I’ve got, other than to reassure you that I think your feelings are totally normal and valid, and that I think your brother- and sister-in-law have been jerks. It’s so painful when people you trusted and were close to let you down during the times of your life when you need them most. I’m sorry it’s worked out this way for you.

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  10. Oh I know these feelings all too well. I struggled from the moment my brother and sister-in-law told us they were expecting. Fortunately, things are better and my love for nephews has made the difference. But, I think it all depends on how closely related you are. If it was a more distant relative or just a family friend, and not my brother, I’m not sure my love for the babies could heal that relationship. Not completely anyway. And that’s okay. I have had friends that have hurt me and violated my trust and I have cut them out. Because that’s what I had to do for myself. And, I told them that, in so many words. So, I think the first thing to decide is, do you want to repair this relationship and if so, to what extent or are you okay if they are no longer in your lives? You don’t have to decide that until you’re ready and maybe give it a few weeks after the baby is born and see how you’re feeling. You have to work through all those emotions you listed first. But then, take a step back and see how you feel about working on the relationship. In the end, you have to do what’s best for you and I know you will!

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  11. I know its not going to be easy, but think of it in a new way, your child will have a cousin who is not much elder to him/her to play with, so wish the parents their congratulations and wish the baby good health.

    We cannot undo our feelings, or can we undo the hurt, but we can try to look at it in a different way. Yes, your child wont be the 1st grandchild but the younger grandkid is the most pampered and that will your child.
    I know what I am saying might not rrally help, but having any negative feelings also wont help. 15 years from now when your teenaged kid is going through some “teen pain” there will be another child he/she can confide in. Just take it that way.

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  12. I don’t know how I’d give advice as I think this kind of experience is so personal. I’ve had a similar experience a couple of times and to be honest am not proud of how I handled it. I sent gifts with a family member and even now have never seen the babies (now toddlers/children). As in your case, because I’ve been quiet in real life (before this last pregnancy) about my many losses, no one ever asked about my absence or silence. It is a lonely walk going that route and I don’t recommend it but at the time it was the best I could do. Your situation is much more painful in that it’s stoked with betrayal. I am sorry for that. I don’t have any great advice except to follow your heart and don’t beat yourself up.

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  13. Time has been the only thing to heal my hurt from similar situations (i.e. my sister). And an understanding that they “don’t get it”. Repeatedly, I’ve learned to lower my expectations of people which can be disheartening, but also lessens the blow. Yesterday, I saw a photo gallery on Facebook of an adoptive couple meeting their baby for the first time. It reminded me of you. I know you will experience that joy and love when you first welcome your child into your family. It hurts now – especially when you are stuck in limbo waiting for answers – but I know that you will get your time. And it will be extra special because of how much you endured on your journey to baby. Your child will undoubtedly know they are loved unconditionally from the time before they were chosen for you until the end of time. ❤

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  14. i have been through this 4 times (twice with each sister in law). yes i was happy for them and excited to be an aunt. it was easier with my brother’s children than it with my husband’s sister’s babies. overall though it’s terrible to go through and not fair and it just hurts so badly. i wish i could offer more help but i never could figure out how to handle it either. the announcement will come and it will hurt like hell and then it will pass and the hurt will subside. i feel for you so much on this one. be as strong as you can be and as weak as you need to be to get through it. you and mr. mpb will get through this and once again be stronger for it xo

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  15. Oh boy… I don’t think there’s any way to get through this situation without just feeling your feels. If you don’t really see them anymore it may be easier to just let those tears roll, because you don’t have to pretend to be anything but sad about the whole situation. We had a very similar situation, although friends not family and earlier in our journey where we still had hope that it would one day be us in birth & delivery, too. Even then it was tough, and I couldn’t go to the hospital. Bryce went for me, and she said, “Why didn’t Jess come?” and was completely oblivious to why that scenario would be difficult for me. Oblivious kind of sums these people up, although I really think that after a while you have to work to be that oblivious to what should be basic empathy. We lost these friends, and I see their children (because they had another) on facebook and feel a strange sense of detachment. I hope that you can get through what will be a tough day and be true to your emotions. Writing about it helps. I’m so sorry for the loss of this relationship and the frustration it causes to see a baby arrive without struggle and the guilt over not being happier for the parents. I can get where you’re coming from. Peace to you!

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  16. I hate situations like this- you know something “bad” is coming and there is no way you can avoid it. And it doesn’t sound like this is your run of the mill baby announcement- it’s happening to someone who you already have a complicated relationship with. #allthefeelings

    My hope for you is that you just let yourself be okay with any combination of emotions you have. All the ones you listed (as well as a host of others) are all okay given the circumstances. Be kind to yourself, and don’t worry if these feelings make you a good/bad person. All they do is confirm that you are human.

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  17. Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry. You’re feeling everything you should be, which sucks. It sucks to be in this situation with people you care deeply for and WANT to be happy for. It’s amazing to me how self-absorbed people can be. You’re such a wonderful person and didn’t deserve that lack of empathy. Hugs.

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  18. I am going through some similarly with my best friend. Although she has maintained a relatively supportive attitude, we have definitely had hiccups along the way. We were suppose to be due only 3 weeks apart… Now she is expecting her baby in a month and I am bracing for the due date that will leave me with empty arms. I am going to pass on advice that was given to me: Feel whatever you need to feel and don’t apologize. To be honest, I think the expectation is going to be a lot more difficult than the actual announcement. It’s not knowing when it is coming that’s most troubling because you can’t prepare for the exact moment. I think the best way to approach it is to know its going to suck and that you are entitled to feel how ever you feel in the moment because of everything you have been through. When you get news of the birth pour yourself a big glass of wine (or any cocktail of your choosing) and let out whatever you need to. Then remember that you are hopeful and you will be a parent. You will get matched. I know this isn’t exactly advice, but I do hope it helps and let’s you know that you are not alone. I am sending you so much strength and hugs.

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  19. My SIL had her first baby as we were being diagnosed with infertility. I was so resentful and angry that it made even looking at that baby in the hospital hard. We got there and had to wait as she tried breastfeeding, and I was on my lunch break. I was so not wanting to be there that I told Brian that I didn’t have time for this and started to leave. He made me stay, I held the baby, and left. I cried the rest of the day. All of this to say that I have no advice, other than get in, get out, and carry on. His family didn’t know about our struggles, but had they, I would have just said, “this is really hard for me. I’m sorry.”

    It never got easier for me because I really dislike his sister, so I had no desire to work through it. Over time, the bad feelings just went away.

    I wish you a quick visit when the baby is born. Make sure you have plans for afterwards so you can say, “I need to get going, I have… waiting for me.”

    Hugs. This really is hard stuff.

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  20. I have found myself feeling the same way, and still sometimes do but with less intensity. I’m not very good at getting myself to face those feelings- you are braver than me in that you’ve laid it all out here in this post. The only way that I can cope is to focus on the positive and pretty much limit my exposure to triggers to days where I’ve been feeling so good that nothing can bring me down. By focusing on the good, I mean, focus on the amazing partner that I have, how fun and loving my dogs are, how we can have a great life that has meaning and purpose beyond child rearing…. I focus on the little things that make me happy- exciting new meals we’ll try to make at home, going on trips, pampering myself, spending time with friends who understand. Talking it out with my counsellor helps a lot too- makes me feel less guilty about those feelings, and reassures me that life has been beyond unfair to some of us. I know it’s hard to focus on your soon-to-be baby because there’s nothing concrete yet, but I think there’s a lot to look forward to there- even more than you and I could possibly imagine.

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  21. Ugh that really sucks. Of course I know exactly what you’re going through. I think we all do. Personally, I would allow myself to feel it 100%. Even now as you’re thinking about it and trying to rationalize your feelings. Stop doing that and feel them. Cry your heart out and break something if you need to. It sucks. That’s all. It sucks and it’s okay that it sucks. Sending you lots of love, friend.

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  22. I don’t know the whole story of how they hurt you. But I can say I know what you are feeling. My 2nd nephew is due this December. Although I’m so happy to be an Auntie again. I still feel everything else along with it. Anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, sad, lonely, empty, plus many many more emotions. It’s really hard to deal with it all at once. But, luckily my sister in law has been kind enough to talk to me about it. She was worried and nervous about the next few months knowing the baby will be coming soon. So she took time to tell me she knew it would be hard on me and wanted to make sure that her pregnancy didn’t push us apart, and that she didn’t say anything or do anything that could cause me any more pain than what I’m already going through. I decided to just be open about how I was feel but made sure she understood that I am still truly happy that she is blessed with the ability to have kids I’m just sad for me. She asked me what I thought she could do to make it easier. So I just honestly stated, it would help if every conversation we had was not about the baby or baby related. Not saying we can’t ever talk about him. I am going to have another nephew that I will love and spoil rotten. But it would start to wear on me if every time we were together that wasn’t the center of our conversations. She was extremely understanding. And it made us both feel better.
    I also had not told my best friend what we were going through for several years. And when I finally did things were extremely awkward between us and I felt it put a strain on our relationship. She said and did some things that really hurt me. But I really didn’t want my infertility and my emotions ruining a long time friendship. So I met up with her and talk to her openly about everything I was going through. I told her the things that were hurting me and what I needed from her. Her reaction was not what I was expecting after previous experiences I had with her. She was extremely apologetic, empathetic and showed more compassion than I’ve ever seen in her. She had no clue how hurt I was, and felt so bad. She assured me moving forward she would be there in anyway I needed her to be. But she did ask me to speak up when I felt I needed to. She had to remind me most of us humans are not mind readers. And sometimes you just have to bluntly say whats on our mind.
    Even though you may feel like your friends should be coming to you, maybe take the initiative to sit down and talk to them openly about everything thats going on, and what they did to hurt you and what you need from them moving forward. I can tell you I had to swallow a couple gallons of pride to sit down with my bff. But I completely rekindled our relationship and now shes been more supportive than my own mother.
    Whatever you choose I feel your pain, you are not alone.

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  23. I have no advice, but I wanted to say how much I admire your considered self-awareness on your emotional wellbeing. It really is inspiring to witness someone tune into what they are going through as objectively and carefully as you do. I wish I could make more sense of what goes on in my own head – I will be trying to follow your lead in dealing with all the crap from my childhood, so thank you for showing such strength and honesty. And I truly hope that the arrival of this baby doesn’t set you back when you have worked so hard to get through everything.

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  24. All your emotions are completely normal my love. Depending on how you feel on the day, either keep yourself busy by going to see a movie or going out somewhere all day, or build a blanket fort, take the phone off the hook and be very gentle with yourself. xxx

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  26. I’m sorry you’re in this situation 😦 I would just lend you my perspective, which is: Don’t compare yourselves and your journey to others. Your perfect baby will reach you in perfect timing and fill the hole in your heart. Until then, guard your heart and save that space. ❤ XOXO

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  27. My only advise is to allow yourself to feel what you need to. It is ok. It is real, it is necessary.

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  30. I know I’m way late on reading this but just wanted to let you know that I love you and completely understand your feelings on this. Sending you big hugs!!!

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